The Winter Slow

During the winter months – which here are December, January and February – it feels like my photography slows down to match the season.

Whether this is true in terms of the number of photographs I make, I’m not sure.

I do have photos saved by month for last couple of years, but these are just those that remain after fairly ruthless editing, and don’t show all those I made then deleted.

So looking at the total per month won’t give all that useful a statistic.

But aside from the number of photographs, the pace feels (even) slower too.

Partly this is because it’s generally much colder, so perhaps photowalks are shorter, and during those walks, my hands are exposed less, buried in pockets to stay warm between captures.

Overall, I think this has a positive impact on my photography.

Again it’s difficult to make any qualitative comparisons, it’s more of a hunch, a feeling.

Logically, if I’m getting the camera out less frequently, it follows that to prompt this at all, a composition needs to be worth capturing, and I’ll make fewer experimental or throwaway shots.

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Also, winter is often my favourite season for photography, because everywhere is more stark, more bare.

It suits my minimal outlook and approach better than, say, being in a garden full of blooms in high summer with a thousand possible photographs within just a few feet.

Combine this with using only digital compacts (again with colder temperatures I don’t want my cold digits to be fumbling with SLR controls, I just want to compose and capture, or point and shoot), that give me results I love straight out of camera, and the overall process is more simple and streamlined than in spring, summer and autumn.

How about you? Do you make fewer photographs in winter? How does your photography approach and output evolve over the different seasons?

Please let us know in the comments below (and don’t forget to tick the “Notify me of new comments via email” box to follow the conversation).

Thanks for looking.

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15 thoughts on “The Winter Slow”

    1. Marc, I cannot comprehend that temperature, the coldest I’ve experienced is maybe -7 or 8° C over here! What do you do then, just hunker down inside with warm drinks for days?

      1. Well it was -40 yesterday: the temperature at which the two common scales meet. It’s only -35 this morning.
        Lots of things stop working and closed down when this happens. I’m lucky to be retired because I remember how much fun it wasn’t to go to work in severe cold. We can’t stop everything. Er, until we get to -273.15C that is. 😀

      2. Ha yes that figure, and something about the Kelvin(?) scale come back to me from science lessons at school… I love cold stark weather, most of the time in winter here it’s just grey and damp and dreary, and around 5-10C. I love a crisp frosty morning when they do arrive.

  1. I itch all through Jan and Feb to make more photos. I hate cold weather and try not to be out in it. I have cameras that can take the cold — my Nikon F3 chief among them. My Canon S95 can, too, if I keep it in pocket until I need it. I mislaid the S95 at Christmas and fear it might be lost.

  2. I created a challenge to myself for the year… with themes sort of matching the seasons. This month I’m doing “Inside the house” pictures – anything indoors. February will be black and white month. Hopefully this will keep me interested 🙂 I could have just simplified things and done a Project 365 type challenge instead… but there’s often days when I just can’t take pictures.

    1. Chris, I’ve found a month works really well for projects, long enough to get absorbed in it, but not so long it feels like it will never end – if it’s not working out how you hoped!

  3. I can relate. We’ve got snow here in Seattle at the moment. Usually I’ll go for my K-5 if I do decide to shoot in inclement weather, but like Jim, I also have a F3 if I’m in the analog mood.

    Last winter, I got some snow pictures with a Yashica T4 that I’ve since sold, but yes – I definitely shoot a lot less when the weather goes bad.

      1. That depends on where I am. Here in the Pacific Northwest, I prefer Summer and early Autumn. In Southern California, I like to shoot year-round. Arizona is quite nice in Spring, especially Sedona and Flagstaff.

      2. Where we are physically has a great influence on when we like to shoot. We don’t have super hot summers here, but over 25C I start to get too uncomfortable and don’t want to be out shooting much. Unless I’m in a cool and shady woodland.

  4. Don’t your Summers there in the UK tend to be on the humid side? Here in Seattle, 25C is definitely less comfortable than the same temperature in Arizona or Southern California due to the humidity.

    1. I haven’t travelled much so don’t have a wide frame of reference but yes when it gets above about 25C here it’s usually very muggy and unpleasant too.

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